A bright red Ducati Hypermotard bike was parked on the street in front of us. Next to it was some kind of Harley, and behind them in the same parking space was another bike, but I couldn’t see what it was without getting up from the table where we sat in front of the coffee shop. A short man with white hair and a wizened face strolled up the sidewalk smoking a cigarette, and stopped to look at the Ducati.
Three guys walked out of some store somewhere, all similarly dressed in black protective nylon or Kevlar jackets and trousers, two of them carrying their motorcycle helmets under their arms, while the third was wearing his. The short man with white hair started talking to the guy who got on the Ducati.
I expected the three motorcyclists to leave as quickly as possible, but they talked to the white-haired man, easily old enough to be their father, for a good ten minutes. I heard the white-haired man talking about a motorcycle he once owned, one with a two-cycle engine. Interested, the guy on the Harley said, “Must have taken a lot of oil.”
Carol started listening to their conversation too. At last the three motorcyclists backed their bikes out of the parking space and drove towards Oakland, and the man with the white hair walked into the coffee shop behind us. “I expected them to blow that guy off,” I said, “but they just kept talking to him.” Carol said of the guy on the Harley, “He had such a sweet expression on his face.”
I had to drive to a meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (UUCB) yesterday, and because I had to drop Carol off near the Rockridge BART station in Oakland, I wound up driving over Grizzly Peaks Boulevard. This was the route I drove to get to work for a year in 2003-2004: from north Oakland up over Grizzly Peaks to UUCB. It is the most dramatic route I have ever commuted along: a section of Grizzly Peaks Boulevard is a winding mountain road through Berkeley Hills a thousand feet above the cities of Oakland and Berkeley. On a regular basis, I would pull over during my commute to enjoy the view: the sun setting over the Golden Gate, the play of light on San Francisco Bay, the view down into the wooded canyons along the ridge.
As I drove along Grizzly Peaks Boulevard this morning, a huge bank of fog was moving in through the Golden Gate from the Pacific; it had mostly covered the city of Berkeley, and was at the foot of the Berkeley Hills. It was so beuatiful, I had to stop, even though I was a little late for the meeting. Looking out I saw the brilliant white of a thousand-foot high fog bank stretching out across the bay, and looking down I could see ridges and cnayons covered with live oaks and eucalyptus trees, and I could see one little corner of the city of Berkeley before the fog blocked my view.
By the time I drove back up over Grizzly Peaks Boulevard three hours later, the fog was swirling up over the peaks, and there was no view of anything except white fog.